An organizational strategic framework

and project and other contributions to achieving strategic objectives


By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia



In the last issue of this journal (Stretton 2017k) I discussed the origins of projects within an organizational strategic planning context. In this article I want to:

  • Represent the organizational strategic business planning framework which was used to summarise the main issues discussed in that article, with some explanatory notes.
  • Extend that strategic business planning framework to include strategic execution, and the achievement of planned business (or equivalent) outcomes, and the realization of ensuing benefits.
  • Illustrate how project planning and execution, and ensuing project outputs facilitate achievement of strategic outcomes and benefits.
  • Show how other initiatives are also needed to facilitate achievement of strategic outcomes and benefits.
  • Discuss matters relating to the achievement of business outcomes and the realisation benefits, such as who manages these processes, and what part project management has to play in helping these achievements.
  • Discuss some differences in terminologies and perspective relating to projects, programs, and benefits realization.


My previous article began by noting that writers on project management tend to discuss how projects are initiated in two different contexts – the first in the context of organizational strategic business planning, and the second in basically ad hoc contexts, via an idea, or perceived opportunity, or similar.

I had been looking for a way to examine the origins of projects in a single context, and found one in an organizational strategy continuum of eight strategies identified by Mintzberg & Waters 1985. They represented the more formal strategic business planning context above as being at what they call the deliberate end of their continuum, and the more ad hoc context at the opposite emergent end. They also recognise that emergent strategies eventually become actual or de facto deliberate ones. This then becomes the key to adopting a single contextual background for strategic initiatives.

In other words, one can regard an ad hoc or opportunistic (“emergent”) initiative as being just as much a strategic initiative as a formally planned (“deliberate”) one. So, rather than separate the two approaches, I was able to adopt a single strategic background in investigating origins of projects.

I then proposed a basic three-stage strategic business planning sequence which is based on some of my earlier work. The development of this strategic business planning sequence, and the relation of projects to its stages, was summarised in the representation shown in Figure 1 below.



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Editor’s note: Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), is a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still tackling some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal.  See his author profile below.

About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 180 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.